Blackwood Gazette #131: Public Memorial For Actor Hostander Alleroy Turns into “A Chaotic Maelstrom of Heated Emotions…”

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

29/5- A memorial for the late Hostander Alleroy, one of the most beloved stage actors of our time, descended into anarchy last night.

Everything started off as one would expect, with Francois Lupeau, head of the Oeil de Fleur Association of Theatrical Arts, took to the stage for a look back over Alleroy’s career. This was followed by the customary moment of silence. Lupeau then opened the stage for anyone who wanted speak of their time with Alleroy and what his work meant to them.
Poet Theodor Vorschevsky was the first to stand up, and regaled the audience with a remembrance of Alleroy through verse and music. It was rough in its execution, but touching in its sincerity. Things went downhill after that.

Actress Valencia Dupon followed. She spoke of her ill-fated romance with Alleroy in a monologue that went on for thirty minutes. The speech was broken into little vignettes, which she acted out. For the most part, those gathered in attendance listened with strained patience, often sighing or rolling their eyes. When she recounted the incident that ended their affair, the discovery of Alleroy’s relationship with actor Donolan Shea, she failed to take into account that Shea was in the audience. Shea, taking offense at Dupon’s interpretation of events, stormed the stage and confronted her verbally. Dupon lashed out at him, and before things could take a more violent turn, they were removed from the premises.

The most heinous act of disrespect, however, came in the form of actor Roman Karvander. Karvander recalled Alleroy as a deceitful man who once undercut him for the role of Lollis Bamberby Happenstance in Papeau’s masterpiece “Two Bits for the Plaguebearer”, a role that earned Alleroy his earliest acclaim. The accusations Karvander leveled at the deceased were the final straw, and sent Alleroy’s friends and loved ones into a frenzy. Unfortunately, Alleroy’s enemies were almost equal in number, and a ruckus broke out.

Fighting spilled into the streets. Horse carts were over turned and several businesses had boards over broken windows come this morning. Famed soprano Alicia Sols was seen in the middle of the street, rending her clothes and wailing Brahmmer’s “Winter’s Dirge” at the sky. Authorities were called in to restore the peace.

“The entire event was insane,” Alleroy’s son, Alexander, told me. “A chaotic maelstrom of heated emotions, grief and hate and love all coming together. Were he alive and in attendance, I’m sure Pops would have loved it.”

Blackwood Gazette #131: Public Memorial For Actor Hostander Alleroy Turns into “A Chaotic Maelstrom of Heated Emotions…”

Blackwood Gazette #130: Julianos to Build Three Blackwood Refining Plants, Creating over 5,000 Jobs in Monteddor

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

28/5- In a continuing bid to insert himself into every facet of Monteddorian life, Alejandro Julianos announced that he, in conjunction with Blackwood magnate Yolanda Desantana, plans to build and open three new Blackwood refining plants. The plants are expected to be built on land within Julianos, Desantana, and Salasan provinces and create over 5,000 jobs.

“The demand for Blackwood is greater than ever, and growing,” Yolanda Desantana said during a press conference. “These extra facilities will allow us to harvest, process, and ship Blackwood faster in order to keep up with growing demand, particularly in Nor Easter and the Northern reaches of Crowndon. They will also allow us to put to work thousands who have been unemployed due to the fighting over the last year.”

Detractors were quick to point out that Desantana never acknowledges the fact that much of the fighting was the result of her and Julianos’ bid for power.

“This is a classic sedation move on the part of our new conquerors,” said Deseban Gonollo, professor of Government at Monteddor University and outspoken opponent of Alejandro Julianos and his actions over the past year. “They take over, throwing the status quo into turmoil. The tension is high, so they throw the people a bone to calm them. But notice where the refineries are being built: two of the provinces are under direct control of Julianos and Desantana, and Salasan is a well-known ally and contributor to Yolanda Desantana. The fighting has been heaviest in Govanna and here, in Ballantine. It is the people of these provinces that need jobs.”

Julianos’ camp was quick to respond to Gonollo’s claims.

“Gonollo is a rabble rouser and attention hound,” the Julianos rep said. “This is well known. He railed for years against Raphael Valiente, and against Valiente’s father. You could give him everything he says he wants, and he would turn around the next day and complain that there is not enough for everyone else. The man isn’t happy unless he’s unhappy, so to speak.

“The only reason the refineries are being built in Julianos, Desantana, and Govanna provinces is simply because they are closest to the Blackwood Grove. Rest assured, we are actively recruiting in the areas hardest hit by the fighting between Dougherty’s rebels and our military forces. We will provide travel to those hired, as well as security, shelter and food while they work at the refineries.”

Blackwood Gazette #130: Julianos to Build Three Blackwood Refining Plants, Creating over 5,000 Jobs in Monteddor

Blackwood Empire #129: 12 High Ranking Colonial Officers Desert, Head for Territories Despite Denial of Entry

By Hil Spencer, New Crowndon Correspondent

27/5- The political powder keg that is the Von Grimm saga threatens to ignite long put to rest animosities, as we have learned that 12 officers from the Colonial Marshals, Frontier Rangers and even the Colonial Militia have allegedly deserted their posts and are heading toward the Plasty Meridian with the intent of crossing into the Western Territories to search for Von Grimm. Field Marshal Ameron Lassiter is said to be leading the group.

The Marshals learned of the plot this weekend, when they discovered the guards posted outside of Lassiter’s estate rendered unconscious with an alchemical substance known as Hoolihan’s Dream. This coincides with the theft of a store of the substance from a fort in the colony of New Hammelford, and the desertion of one Captain Ian Gorski. Gorski’s brother is said to have died during the massacre at Fort Winstone.

The disappearance of Lassiter and the desertion of Gorski also coincide with the desertion of ten others, all of them in positions of authority and all of them with connections to men killed in the massacre, or associated with Lassiter.

A nationwide manhunt has been enacted for the 12 deserters before they reach the Meridian. There are fears, however, that any pickets placed by the Marshals and Rangers may be mere illusion, as dissent against the Colonial leadership’s inability to act has been loud among their ranks.

If they manage to enter the territories, such an act would constitute a breach of treaty with the Native Nations and may spark renewed aggressions with its peoples. As such, the Colonial governors have each issued a public statement disavowing any and all actions.

The representatives from the Territories have yet to issue a statement. Their embassy in New Crowndon has seen an increase in security, however, and it is said that correspondence in and out of the embassy is being closely monitored.

Blackwood Empire #129: 12 High Ranking Colonial Officers Desert, Head for Territories Despite Denial of Entry

Blackwood Gazette #128: Over a Year Since Tuna Heist, Crowndon Still Feeling Economic Pinch

By Chester Seaton, News

26/5-Over a year has passed since the pirate Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre crashed a barge full of Barrier Sea tuna into the Bank of Crowndon, contaminating the gold within with an unbearable stench and tanking the Crowndon economy in the process. While things have started to improve as the gold was melted down and re-circulated, the Empire still feels the pinch.

“Last year at this time, this tavern was full of the merrymaking of fishermen and dock hands,” said tavern owner Hatham McTavish. “Now, all those men are gone, either moved to other towns or enlisted in the air corps. Some turned to thieving, either wound up hung or in a dungeon. Had to turn in one of my regulars, me-self. Hurt like hell, but a crime’s a crime.”

Corroborating McTavish’s account is a new report from the Imperial Authority, saying that recruitment in the Authority, as well as the Crowndon Air Corps and Crowndon Infantry, has tripled in the last eight months, spiking just after the beginning of winter.

“Military service offers a certain security,” said Sergeant Donald Loys, a recruiter in Walsh. “With jobs down, men are lining up. Our recruiting stations have even been told to focus on this fact to bolster enlistment.”

Likewise, petty crime has tripled as well.

Nowhere in the Crowndon Empire is the economic pinch more visible than in Rommsbach, where the famous Mile of Treats, a street known across the Triumvirate for its abundant bakers, candy makers, distilleries and tobacco sellers has been all but abandoned in the last few months.

“This place used to be a party, most every night,” said one citizen of Hestenberg, the town where the Mile of Treats is located. “Now it’s near a ghost town, most of the bakers have shuttered their stores. The smell of pies and sugar and fresh fruit has been replaced with nothing but salty air from the sea, and the colorful banners along the road are tattered and torn. It’s a terrible sad thing. But they’ll be back, I know it. They always come back.”

The hopes of that man from Hestenberg might not be empty, either. Towns along the Serpent’s Tongue River, the border between southern Crowndon and Monteddor, have seen a recent boom since the first of the renewed shipments of Blackwood from Desantana Refining came pouring in earlier this year. And though those effects have yet to echo throughout the rest of the empire, morale is, for the most part, growing.

“Crowndon is, and always has been, the strongest of the Triumvirate,” said High Lord of Industry and Commerce, The Grand Duke of Walsh Harlow Dyston. “We have weathered innumerable tests in the past, and we’ll sure as hell weather this…this mere prank by a drunken trickster.”

Blackwood Gazette #128: Over a Year Since Tuna Heist, Crowndon Still Feeling Economic Pinch

Blackwood Gazette #127: Johanna McKilroy Causes Millions (More) in Damages During Daring Escape from Custody; Declared “Public Enemy Number One”

By Chester Seaton, News

25/5- The city of Toring has once again felt the ill effects of having Captain Johanna McKilroy in their midst. While Imperial Authorities were transferring the infamous pirate hunter for trial in the city she most wronged, two ships under her command swooped in to liberate her.

“I saw the whole thing,” said Albert Hensworth, a citizen of Toring. “Right from my back window, through this here telescope. I like to watch the trains come in. They were about fifty miles out when two airships came in low, and I saw flashes from the deck of one while the other floated over the top of the train with men dangling from ropes.”

Survivors from the train corroborate this tale, saying several armed men landed upon the roof of the train. Guards stationed on the train fought valiantly, managing to repel the attackers until the train reached Garrand’s Tunnel.

The ships broke off their attack, but unfortunately the pirate hunters were prepared. A third ship reportedly waited at the other end of the tunnel. As the train exited, crew from the ship opened fire with rifles, killing the conductor. His body fell over the controls and the train was unable to decelerate before entering the city. It hit a bend in the track and derailed, slamming through two blocks of buildings before coming to a halt. Anna Whitley was in one of these buildings, sipping tea.

“One minute, I’m sitting across from my suitor, talking about what, I don’t remember,” Miss Whitley said. “It was perfectly quiet. The next thing I know, there is this slight rumbling, and the cups and saucers in the tea shop all start to jingle just slightly. But the rumbling grew, the jingling turns into a full on dance. Then the whole shop explodes in brick and dust, and next thing I know, my suitor is no longer sitting in front of me. I think the train hit him.”

McKilroy and several guards survived the crash and exited the train. They sent up a flare and within five minutes, officers from Toring Yard arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, crew members from McKilroy’s fleet had taken up position in the buildings surrounding the site. Fearing they would be overrun, the guard commander reportedly ordered the execution of Captain McKilroy.

“She must have gotten loose at some point during the chaos,” said Corporal James Robargh, who was sent on this duty along with his sergeant and a private. “We entered the car were she was chained up, but she ambushed us. I swear she jumped from the overhead, hit the private in the back of the head with the chain of her shackle; she had it wrapped around her remaining hand. I tried to bring up my musket but she kicked me in the gut, and the shot went off into the deck. Then she turned on the sergeant, beat his face in with the chain wrapped around her fist. I just sat and watched, too afraid to do anything. She was like some sort of animal, she was. Vicious. Rabid, like.”

McKilroy was next seen exiting the train car and making a mad dash through the street with gun-shot raining down around her from all sides. She managed to escape into a building controlled by her crew, and they escorted her to the roof. Imperial Authorities followed, engaging in a close-quarters exchange of fire within the tight corridors of an apartment building.

“I’ve never seen nothing like it,” said Private Joseph Carnell. “Gunfighting in a building where people live…it was hell, I tell you. Pure hell. Smoke filling the halls, choking us, making it impossible to aim. And you can hear the people screaming in their rooms, not knowing what’s going on and you just hope you don’t fire and wind up shooting through someone’s wall or floor. And worse, the people you’re fighting don’t have the same care, the same hesitation. Never seen anything like. Hope to never again.”

Once on the roof, McKilroy and her remaining men clambered onto a rope ladder which was pulled up to one of her ships. Survivors of the incident say that she made a lewd hand gesture as she ascended. Authorities attempted to pursue, but their efforts were hampered as a fourth and fifth ship had staked out the nearest Authority sky dock and begun hammering it with mortar fire. Ships from the next station were unable to reach the scene before McKilroy disappeared.

It is believed that Captain McKilroy will go to ground somewhere in the Divide, where the deep ravines and canyons will make it next to impossible to locate her. Imperial Authorities along the route have been alerted, and Fleet Admiral Percival Dunbarrow Pillsbury III made it adamantly clear:

“This transgression will not go unanswered. The damage to Toring at the hands of McKilroy and her crew not once but twice is a travesty of the highest order. As of today, Captain Johanna McKilroy is declared public enemy number one, and to be viewed as less than the pirates she claims to hunt.”

Blackwood Gazette #127: Johanna McKilroy Causes Millions (More) in Damages During Daring Escape from Custody; Declared “Public Enemy Number One”

Blackwood Gazette # 126: The Scarlet Circle Strikes in Monteddor! Julianos Opposition Assassinated Overnight

By Isairo Palantes

22/5- The legendary group of female assassins known as the Scarlet Circle are suspected in the deaths of several mid-level officials in Monteddor, according to a spokesperson for the Monteddorian Inter-Territorial Law Enforcement Agency (MITLEA).

The officials were each discovered in their offices yesterday, sitting at their desks with a bullet to the back of the head. Investigators believe that in several cases, the bodies were moved to be in this position. Blood from their wounds stained a piece of upcoming legislation, believed to be intentionally placed under their heads.

The wounds were consistent with that of a .45 revolver, like those carried by the storied Scarlet Circle assassins. The Scarlet Circle, believed to be a myth until a decade ago, became a recognized threat to the Empire after four of their number were caught during an attempt on the life of an ambassador from Pharassus, a country on the eastern continent of Sarnwain.

“We are unwilling to officially declare a motive,” said Pedral Verdon, Chief Inspector with the MITLEA. “But the working theory is that these murders were ordered by the rebel leader Dougherty, or others who share in her interests.”

This statement has been met with some controversy, however, as each of the officials murdered had recently expressed objections to Alejandro Julianos’ military supremacy. Detractors (who refuse to be identified) point out that Julianos would have much to gain by the removal of these men. They also point out that the MITLEA falls under his command.

“These accusations are understandable,” said a Julianos spokesperson. “But they are false. The legislation found at the scene was the result of Julianos working with these individuals to reach a compromise, an effort which would have soon borne fruit. A more likely scenario is that rebel leaders learned of this, saw the compromise as a betrayal, and ordered them killed. The fact that Dougherty is said to carry a revolver herself should be considered, as well.”

MITLEA has no details to offer on the identities of the assassins, but say that if the Circle was indeed involved, they would all be women, either of Monteddorian or Sarnwainian heritage and between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, traveling alone and likely heading east to Sarnwain, where the Circle is said to be headquartered.

Blackwood Gazette # 126: The Scarlet Circle Strikes in Monteddor! Julianos Opposition Assassinated Overnight

Blackwood Gazette #125: Actor Hostander Alleroy Dies During Performance; Nobody Notices Until End of Show

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

21/5- Fate has seen fit to deal the world of theatre a grievous blow, as storied actor (and personal friend) Hostander Alleroy suffered a failure of the heart last night during a performance of Delando’s ‘Fires of D’Kalm D’korr. He was 72 years of age.

Alleroy passed during the climax of the play, while giving the much lauded night time soliloquy. Unfortunately, since the soliloquy ends with the death of his character, the magister Echliender Brofskenbauer, and is immediately followed by a large battle that involves almost thirty actors on stage at once, no one noticed that Alleroy was dead until the final curtain call, when he did not get up and join the rest of the cast in a bow.

“Everyone was mortified,” said one member of the audience. “Absolutely mortified. I personally thought something might be wrong when Hostander hit the stage like a ton of bricks, but wrote it off as him simply giving the performance of a lifetime…which, well, I suppose he did. Oh, this is so horrible!”

Alleroy earned critical acclaim early in his career for his performance of Prince Coulette, in Wilhelm Shanksbaum’s classic play, Coulette. He became a fixture of Shanksbaumian theatrical troupes for the rest of his life. Commercial acclaim, however, eluded him until he took on the role of the magister in Delando’s high fantasy saga, ‘The Ichthylliad’ of which ‘Fires’ is the thirteenth entry.

“His casting was a godsend,” said Harol Bousey, the leader of Alleroy’s acting troupe. “Hostander just had a way of taking Delando’s nonsense and giving it weight. You might not have been able to understand any of it, but when Hostander spoke the lines, you damn well believed in it.”

Fans of Alleroy have taken to the streets outside the Empress theatre since this morning, holding a vigil for the actor. I plan to join them, once this story goes to press.

“Goodbyes are bittersweet things indeed, for though parting is painful, reunion is ever so uplifting.” –Wilhelm Shanksbaum, The Drake of Val Coursais.

Blackwood Gazette #125: Actor Hostander Alleroy Dies During Performance; Nobody Notices Until End of Show

Blackwood Gazette #124: Colonial Marshals Denied Permission to Enter Western Territories To Pursue Von Grimm Gang

By Hil Spence, New Crowndon Correspondent

20/5- The Colonial Marshals will not be able to continue their pursuit, as the representatives for the Western Territories have voted down the petition to enter their lands.

The decision comes after nearly a week long debate amongst territory leaders. The Marshals need 16 of 20 votes to enter, but received only twelve, despite promising early talks.

Officials expected the heaviest opposition to come from the Duv-Ayid territory, since many of its clans and tribes suffered the most greatly during the period of Westward Expansion. However, the Duv-Ayid representatives voted in favor of letting Marshals cross. Many have conjectured their support was merely a ploy to get Marshals into their territory as a trap, though no official endorsement of this idea has been stated (and such a statement is unlikely).

The heaviest, and most surprising, opposition actually came from the Delsoon Territory, with which most colonial trade occurs. The representatives from the Delsoon tribes stated fear of reprisals from neighboring, hostile territories as their reason. These fears were echoed by several other territories as well.

Not all hope is lost, however, as all of the territories agreed on one thing: if Von Grimm and his gang are located within their borders, they will be dealt with, with the understanding that the bandits are not sanctioned by the colonial government. The tenuous peace between Triumvirate colonies and the Territories will continue, it seems.

“Just as long as someone doesn’t do anything stupid,” said First Marshal General Job Stoll, when asked to comment. “Just to be safe, we’ve placed Field Marshal Lassiter on restricted leave. He was…most upset about the decision.”

Blackwood Gazette #124: Colonial Marshals Denied Permission to Enter Western Territories To Pursue Von Grimm Gang

Blackwood Gazette #123: Blood and Ketchup-How Nor Eastern Students Are Protesting Julianos’ War

By Basilio Mura, Nor Easter Correspondent

19/5-In response to the increasingly bloody and destructive efforts of Monteddorian leader Alejandro Julianos to suppress the farmers’ rebellion, the students of Nor Easter University have taken to wearing chess pawns around their necks dipped in ketchup.

“The pawn is a piece that represents the common person,” explained one student, very slowly. “In this case, those of the Monteddorian citizenry who are forced to give everything for so little in return. The ketchup represents their blood spilled to protect what little they have. In many cases, tomatoes. So it has dual meanings. That means two, get it?”

While student protests at Nor Eastern schools are nothing new, this one is gaining traction quickly, much to the chagrin of the university staff.

“I thought it was clever at first,” said one professor. “It takes a certain fortitude to slather a medallion in wet ketchup and wear it around your neck all day. But after a week, the corridors have begun to get rather noxious. I swear, I get home and all I can smell is day old dried ketchup.”

Word of the protest has even reach her Imperial Majesty, Empress Marcellete Bastian.

“It’s such a striking image, I think,” Her Grace said. “Were I not a holder of such high office, I might wear one myself. But it’s nice to see the kids get behind something.”***

We spoke to one student who is closer to the Monteddorian conflict than anyone, an exchange student who asked not to be named. This student was not wearing a ketchup stained pawn.

“I suppose it’s all fine and well that they are showing support,” the student said. “But I can’t help but find it all a bit disingenuous. These Nor Easterners get behind any movement that can be seen as fashionable. They march around for a week, and then it’s off to the next thing. Two weeks ago they were protesting the closing of a coffee maker they liked. This week, they’re all drinking the new guy’s stuff and extolling its virtues. If they really wanted to help my people, they’d be volunteering with relief efforts. But then I suppose that would make it too real for them.”

***The average age of a student at Nor Easter University is 34. Her Imperial Majesty is 29 years of age.

Blackwood Gazette #123: Blood and Ketchup-How Nor Eastern Students Are Protesting Julianos’ War

Blackwood Gazette 122: Captain Johanna McKilroy Re-Emerges After Battle with La Pierre; Promptly Arrested By Crowndon Authorities

By Chester Seaton, News

18/5- The reports surrounding Captain Johanna McKilroy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, it would seem. The notorious pirate hunter, previously believed to have succumbed to injuries sustained in a battle with the pirate Roderick La Pierre several months ago, was seen leaving a hospital in the northern Crowndon port city of Carn Hattey Mills this weekend.

Witnesses to McKilroy’s reappearance have claimed that she sported a patch on her right eye, a brace on her left leg and a mechanical prosthetic on her right arm. Earlier reports stated that she lost the arm when her ship’s guillotine, used to execute pirates, came loose during the battle with La Pierre and took it off below the elbow.

Word traveled quickly through the town, and a contingent of Crowndon infantry rushed to the hospital, arresting the pirate hunter and several of her crew. The charges leveled against her include desertion (likely stemming from her leaving the Air Corps to join La Pierre after his exile), as well as the wanton destruction of several city blocks in Toring and reckless endangerment of Toring’s citizens during a battle with another pirate captain years ago.

The Crowndon military has not released any statements on their apprehension of the pirate hunter, or any details on when a trial might be held. The Gazette will certainly be following this story closely.


For a little bonus today, here’s a rough concept idea of Johanna McKilroy. It’s been a long while since I’ve done a Character Profile, so, here goes:

johannamckilroycroppedCaptain Johanna McKilroy: Former second in command aboard the Pernicious Platitude, served alongside Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre during their early years in the Air Corps. Believed La Pierre’s treatment after the war was undeserved and followed him into piracy. Her service didn’t last long, when she realized just how far La Pierre was willing to go. She left his crew and formed a freelance group of pirate hunters. La Pierre is her white whale, and the two have been playing a game of cat and mouse in the Imperial Skyways for years now. She is not completely unaware of the fact that her pursuit has brought out the same characteristics in herself that she shunned in La Pierre in the first place.


On another note, I’m happy to say that I put my nose to the grindstone this weekend and wound up with a plan for the next twenty five installments of the Gazette. Usually, I write and post, but I’m going to try and work up a nice buffer, for insurance against those days when I just stare at the screen for an hour or two and can’t seem to get anything done.

Blackwood Gazette 122: Captain Johanna McKilroy Re-Emerges After Battle with La Pierre; Promptly Arrested By Crowndon Authorities